If you're doing Nanowrimo this month, you're about halfway there. (In terms of time, at least. Draftwise... that might look a little different.)
And halfway through a drafting marathon, you might feel a bit of an energy shift.
All the excitement of starting something... it might have fizzled out a bit. And you're left with the work itself.
Maybe you sense the drag, the friction, the gravity. The flow of ideas might be slackening.
And yet... You might also be in a weird dreamy state as your draft grows. The non-writing parts of your day might feel a bit detached. You might hear yourself saying things that don't make sense.
You might be getting a little word-drunk is what I'm saying. (Kind of exhilarating, isn't it!)
But at the same time, you might be looking at your stock of energy, your reserves, and wonder how you'll keep going at this pace.
I totally hear you. That's exactly how I feel mid-draft.
This is the point in the game when I start throwing non-writing commitments overboard. I look suspiciously at anything that sucks energy away from the work.
You gotta lighten the load.
Grab a few minutes, and list everything that you've got going on in your life, from now until the end of the draft. (In Nano terms, that's at 11:59 p.m., November 30.)
What are your commitments, your obligations, your appointments? Write 'em all down.
Then, what are the other things you're doing every day? Stuff like: Laundry (if you're still doing that), showers (if they haven't become totally optional), food consumption, and those Lucy-Flint-made-me-do-it dance parties.
Okay, here's the tricky part.
What three things require the most energy from you, while giving you the least renewed energy in return?
What's taking more than it's giving back: that's my question.
Try to push yourself to circle three things. If you can't find three, at least find one.
And then get rid of it. Be done with it. Say, "Thanks, sorry, but I can't."
At least until Nanowrimo is over.
Some commitments can't be shaken, so if you can't totally get rid of it, how can you still lighten the load?
Is there a way to protect your energy? To pull back slightly, even if you still have to do it? Ways to delegate, ways to do only part?
Can you arrive late, can you leave early, can you not bring the dessert this time?
What would it look like if this didn't totally drain you?
If this whole question is hard, I totally get it. I'm with you. I'm stepping back from some important things this month, to make room for more writing.
And whenever that makes me feel like I'm maybe a callous and terrible and unlikeable person, I remind myself of these three super-important truths:
1) No one can write your book except for you. No one.
Actually, let's repeat that (maybe out loud, and maybe standing on your tip toes, and yeah, you probably should shout it): No one can write my book except for me!
So you need to get mama-bear defensive about your work sometimes. Okay? It's that important.
2) The work-in-progress takes WAY MORE mental energy and emotional energy than you can really explain to yourself (or to other people).
Which means that, if you are drafting your brains out (and you are!), you need every bit of energy you can get.
Your hours away from the writing desk are still important. They're still part of the equation, because they still affect your total energy reserves.
Sometimes I'm tempted to be a superwoman during my non-writing hours. But whenever I try to dodge this rule, I can feel it. Big time. And the work suffers.
The book takes a lot of energy... even when you aren't actively writing it.
And so sometimes, for the sake of your beloved work-in-progress (which only you can write!!), you have to step back.
Which brings us to number three.
3) This is only for a season.
It's not for forever. Heck, you've just got a couple of weeks left! It's nearly done.
If your choices are disappointing someone you care about, just remember this: You will be done with this draft soon.
Drafts don't last forever, and when you're finished, you'll need a little break. You can reinvest in those other parts of your life then, and everything will be just. fine.
So take a little time today to make the hard call. Give yourself the gift of a bit more energy.
And then watch your draft flourish.
My work-in-progress is definitely cheering. I think yours is too.
PS: Seriously, how's it going? How's the Nanowrimo life treating you? Feel free to give us all an update in the comments!! I'd love to hear about it!